Columbus (Take Two!)

Last year, my family had the opportunity to visit Columbus with three other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families. We had such a good time that I reached out to Experience Columbus to see if we could come back for a repeat visit. They agreed and have sponsored this post below. All opinions, however, are 100% my own. 

If I had a dollar for every time Arianna and Evan asked if we could go back to Columbus in the past 12-ish months, I’d be a very wealthy woman. It’s safe to say that they loved our trip out there last summer. But now? They are older and have two ‘lil sisters so they wanted to do it all again and see how different things were in 2015.

We stayed at the Drury Inn Convention Center again, because, well…

  • Nightly Kickback was dinner…and relaxation for Mommy and Daddy. We scheduled our days to save money and make it back for this each night.
  • Breakfast…we’ve stayed in a few hotels this past year, but the offering at Drury’s buffet beat any of them by far.
  • Comfort…we stayed in a suite to accommodate the six of us. There was plenty of space and two TVs that allowed the big kids to fall asleep to the Disney Channel while we watched sports. We also had space to have family game night every night we stayed!
  • Customer Service…because we went during the week, the hotel was pretty empty. We feel like the staff became our friends during our stay – but noticed they were that awesome with everyone who walked through the door. (We did have one small issue with kids at the pool at the end of our stay, but the staff handled everything with class.)

After a night of getting settled in, we headed to COSI (Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry).

We started our day in the area specifically for ‘lil kids because it’s Arianna’s last year to go in it (2nd grade and up have other areas to explore) and I needed to feed the girls. Greg focused on water play and imaginative stations while I parked it in the Mother’s Room and still got to talk some science to the ‘lil ladies.

While the #lilburghers discover in KidSpace @cosi, mama and the #twins will hang here. #normalizebreastfeeding #expcols

After I was done, the girls even got a chance to do some water play in a station specially designed for ‘lil ones.



The big kids definitely got a lot more out of COSI this trip. So much more that I wish we’d had two days to explore. The rest of the day was spent in the other levels of the center, including several learning carts and the body then Ocean exhibit.

Save him!

Our second full day was spent at the Columbus Zoo. It was a hot day, but we covered pretty much all of the zoo (leaving a few things because we knew we had part of a second day with our Zoombezi Bay passes). I’m telling you, we love our Pittsburgh Zoo, but the Columbus Zoo is so much fun that it’s really hard knowing it’s 3 and a half hours away.

I Periscoped about the Manatees because these giants are so awesome…and the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program is really incredible, too. The ‘lil guy is Cadbury, an orphaned manatee who has been accepted by Stubby.

Hi, Cadbury! We ♡ the @columbuszoo manatees! #expcols

The big kids got to do some paid extras (we definitely recommend bringing some extra cash (or card) to do these) when they fed a giraffe and rode a camel.



And of course, we enjoyed our favorite animals all throughout the zoo.





We had to cut the day short because of an oncoming storm (and in the process lost Isla’s “Key-Key” pacifier), but knew we’d be back the next day.

Calling it early! #thunderstorms #ohio

Our last day in Columbus was mostly spent poolside; however, we did have a few regions to get to in the early morning before Zoombezi Bay opened. The tickets (thankfully) also include zoo passes, so we headed over to the aviary and then to see the gorillas and had an entertaining time with them “fighting” in the exhibit.

Racquet - tailed Roller

I took a moment to find a quiet spot to feed the girls and let the kids play off some “anxious about the waterpark” energy.

Ava is done, but Isla needed a turn. #nip #twins #normalizebreastfeeding

Next up was Zoombezi Bay. The ‘lil girls didn’t love it (the water was cool on the last weekend the park was open), but I didn’t mind. I’d somehow gotten poison ivy, so was content sitting under the big umbrella and watching the fun from afar. The big kids did the little slide and then a bigger slide and we ended our day with a few rounds of the lazy river.

Mommy's little cutie ♡ #expcolsThe #twins and I are enjoying @columbuszoo #zoombezibay from the umbrella. Arianna conquered all the "baby" slides like a champ and is roaring to have daddy take her to the big kid slides once the girls are done eating.

Oh, and I’m not sure a trip to Columbus can be complete without a stop at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream!

Ice cream time! #expcolsMy #jenis has a fortune cookie! #expcols @jenisicecreams

Thank you, Experience Columbus, for helping us relax the week before Arianna went back to school and enjoy our favorites in your awesome city! This trip got 12 thumbs up.

Experience Columbus: Zoombezi Bay

Disclaimer: In June, Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s). This post is from our personal follow – up trip to redeem our passes for the water park.

Back in June, we spent so much time enjoying the Columbus Zoo that we didn’t have enough time to take in the attached waterpark, Zoombezi Bay. Our family decided to make our own trip back to Columbus to check it out today.


After we paid $8 for parking and another $8 for a locker (we got the regular size and were SHOVING our four towels, flip flops, and tees/shorts in), the rest of our day was spent enjoying the sun and water.

3 things I would have changed about today?
1. We would have brought the kids’ puddle jumpers. Not thinking, we left home without them. Zoombezi has life vests for infants to adults, but the selection was scarce. We actually took the last two toddler ones I saw hanging and it was barely noon.
2. We would have got there earlier. The Zoo opens at 9. We should have walked around in the cooler part of the day and saw the monkeys like Evan wanted. We didn’t, and he was sad. This is because Zoombezi opens at 10:30 and I let us be lazy with breakfast and getting there. Once we arrived at 11:30, it was almost 90 and I got heat exhausted quickly.  Arianna and I both had to break the news to our boys, we had to go head for the highway around 2:30.
3. I would have brought my underwater camera for some pictures…and could have hung the locker wristband on that. Sweet moments with the kids left uncaptured…and we lost our locker wristband twice. Luckily, we found them…but I don’t (want to) know what happens if you don’t find them. If you do not have it on when going to locker attendant, they do ask you to identify some things in your locker…keep something unique up front!

3 things I wouldn’t have changed about today?
1. Spending time with Evan in Baboon Lagoon.  This area, designed for 2-10 year olds, is full of fun splash zones, smaller slides, and a 2 foot deep pool area. Evan loved playing in the water that was just his size and speed. 
2. Circling the Roaring Rapids (lazy river) with the whole family. Shy of the fact that it has few soak zones, it was the best lazy river I’ve been on.  Evan loved the wave area!
3. Letting Greg take Arianna on water slides.  There were less “big kid” slides than I expected, and few accommodated her height, but those two had some good fun. I never would have rode the mat slide, but my ‘lil girl took that thing on all by herself (with daddy in the lane next to her). Evan says when he is five we all will ride it. Huh.

All in all, it was great to take another “tank trip” to Columbus. Our family loves the city and throughly enjoyed everything we did and everyone we met along the way. Thanks once again to for the memories!

Experience Columbus: The Columbus Zoo

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

‘lil Blogger me is supposed to sit down and right yinz a stellar post about the #1 Zoo in the United States. The Columbus Zoo. The zoo that I knew as an elementary school kid  that now my children beg to go back to. It’s a post that’s been spinning in my head for weeks (among five zillion other things that we have going on in our ‘lil world).

But I mean, seriously. How am I supposed to put words to paper about how incredible the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is?

Maybe it’s telling you that Jack Hanna is kinda a big deal there, and he’s made sure that the animals have plenty of space and real-to-life habitats in this zoo.

Or that the Zoo has a really awesome “Hoofit” Program with the local health plan, telling you ways to stay healthy & hydrated during your visit. (By the way, we walked/ran the zoo twice and I had almost 30,000 steps that day between the trip and my morning 5k.)


Or the fact that you can get super close to the elephants (our favorite).


But maybe you’d want to hear about how good the brand new Heart of Africa exhibit is, complete with a great lunch spot, camel rides, and giraffe feedings.


Or that there are manatees in the aquarium.


I’m sure my mom and dad want to check in on the gorillas that I know Jack and I kept them at for hours during our visits.


And Jack will totally be jealous to hear about Dinosaur Island, which was well worth the 45 minute wait and near potty accident to take a 3-minute boat ride around a river of dinosaurs.



And Grandma and Pop Pop would not be surprised to know that Greg’s kids like snakes.


And you all want to see our family photos from the trip, too (source: Kaman’s Art Shoppes).



There are just way to many things to tell you and show you and gush about. And while I don’t want to mix up my ‘Burgh loyalty (’cause our zoo is pretty awesome), I’ll tell you that the Columbus Zoo deserves its accolades. I can push out of my mind that I am pretty sure the attached waterpark, Zoombezi Bay, was probably crowded because it was oh so hot that I spent way too much money on water bottles to keep us hydrated throughout the day. And I’ll forget the fact that even after two loops, we still missed stuff because the path isn’t straight (but totally keeps you on your toes). Or that I got super frustrated in the Discovery Reef because there were too many people in there trying to catch a break in the A/C. Because lemme tell you. This zoo is incredible.

Bonus? The polar bears swim. Lots. They get it.


If you get it and want to check out the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, head over here to learn more about tickets (including how to add Zoombezi Bay to your entry — we are going back in July to take advantage of this!). And HERE to see more of our photos!!!

Experience Columbus: Foodie Tips

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

Food is a necessity, but something I don’t always plan for when we vacation. This needs to change. Especially when I have a family that loves food. Our trip to Columbus didn’t involve much planning on my part because I really wanted to go with the flow and enjoy the weekend. I wanted flexibility to enjoy the convenience of eating at our hotel and to be able to jump up and join one of these ladies on their adventures and not be bound by a food choice.

IMG_3976(Pictured are Ashley 0f Momma on a Mission, Kelly of Pgh Momtourage, Nadine of The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog, and (a desperately needing a haircut) me…not Pictured is Nicole of Champagne to Crayons.)

Here are my tips if you are heading to Columbus, Ohio and want to get some delicious food.

1. Use Social Media. I tweeted to @ExpCols and @cbusadventures in search of kid-friendly / local food (non chain). They were able to crowd source some great ideas, which we sadly did not indulge in. (I was looking for something near the zoo, but honestly, about a mile into the zoo I realized there was no dragging my kids out – Tandori Chicken flatbread, it was!) If you don’t ask, you’ll end up grabbing fast food or something familiar. Don’t do this! Enjoy.

2. Snack. No, I’m not just talking about bringing snacks so you don’t get HANGRYI mean enjoy small bites and indulgences of the local offerings. We were gifted with delicious treats from Buckeye Crunch, Shagbark Seed & Mill Corn Chips, CaJohn’s Raspberry Chipotle Salsa, and Pocket Change (Brownie Bites) from Sugardaddy’s. Yum.

3. Go for a good pizza. Yup, we try to eat healthy around here, but that doesn’t mean we don’t spring for a pizza every now and then. Throughout my travels, I always make it a point to grab up a local pizza and enjoy it. This time around, we went to OH Pizza and Brew, a quick walk from the hotel (and convention center). This was a new business, but full of amazing choices and flavors. The breading was light and fluffy, with fresh ingredients and barely any hints of grease. Perfection.

4. Splurge on some ice cream. Run, don’t walk, to a Jeni’s Ice Cream location near you. Thank goodness this cutesy ice cream shop has deals with grocery stores here in Pittsburgh because one small bite and I was in love. Fresh, local ingredients. You can taste the love in these “Splendid Ice Creams”. 

I’ll be heading back to Columbus in about a month and cannot wait to make some adult dining choices while there. So many great foodie options, so little time. Share with me YOUR favorites in Columbus…or your tips for experiencing the cities you travel (when it comes to food).


Experience Columbus: COSI

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

If you couldn’t already tell, we had a great time last weekend in Columbus. I’m kind of bouncing around with our story, but it keeps yinz on your toes, right? Today we’ll be sharing fun from our time at COSI, Columbus’s Center of Science and Industry.

The preface to this story is that our morning started out fun and relaxed. I went for a run, packed a few last minute things, woke up snoozing kiddos, and confirmed with my #PghMomBloggers friends that we’d be asking Drury for a late check out and heading to the pool. The skies were a little gray but sunny, so my family intended to be a ‘lil lazy then head to the Arts Festival before walking over to COSI . As we boarded the CBus, I noticed big black clouds rolling in and fast. Not 2 minutes after two of the other families got off the bus at German Village did the sky fall apart.

It was pouring rain and my happy mood snapped. We devised a plan to ride the bus back to the hotel area, Greg would get off the bus and get the car then meet us somewhere along the route. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much faith in his navigation skills / GPS, so we all got off the bus and ran in the rain to our hotel. I was not happy and it definitely impacted our time at COSI (sadly for me!).

Just a quick drive over a bridge from downtown, we were at COSI. Parking is $5 (unless you are a COSI member). I think that you can pay cash or card (or maybe even pay inside?) but we were sharing spaces with people who where there for the Arts Festival so parking was $10 and I was kinda at my limit for the day so I didn’t really pay much attention.

We got out of the car and the rain stopped. Marvelous. We did take our umbrellas, but once we got inside, Greg opted to take them back to the car so we could be more hands-on. (COSI has some super large lockers to hold your coats / bags / belongings, but they are square and our golf umbrellas didn’t fit.) (These are things I didn’t think I’d have to know as a parent before kids!)

Once we redeemed our tickets, we were given tags that were to be showing during the entire trip. Be sure you are prepared for this – belt loops (or shoelaces) work best to hold them. Evan, Greg, and I had one, but there was nowhere on Arianna to put her tag. She had to wear it on her wrist which had me worried the whole time, especially in the Oceans exhibit. I witnessed a few people losing theirs because they got them wet. 🙁 Here’s what I mean:


Our first official exhibit stop was an area where the kids could build things with foam blocks. I plopped down on a bench and got comfy, happy to watch them play for awhile.



The rest of the time at COSI was somewhat a blur because the crowd started growing and it was hard to let our ‘lil ones explore with a bunch of big kids running them over. Yup, Evan got knocked down at least twice while holding my hand and there were no apologies happening. I watched a kid who was about 9 running free fall flat on his face, no parent in sight to see if he was ok or to tell him to not run. Anxiety level was high (for me) and it was a weird role-reversal (as this is normally Greg’s gig — he was relaxed and quite enjoyed the day!).

What I do remember were these things I loved:
1. The Dreamscape portion of the Oceans exhibit had hands on water play activities that the kids LOVED.


2. No “pooping” you, we played a “Who Pooped?” game.


3. The Little Kidspace was full of hands-on things for kids through 1st grade – read perfect for our ‘lil Burghers. They check the number of adults and kids and you have to have a pass to enter and exit. Awesome for safety! There was also a water play area here that wowed us, and a kid-sized sink in the bathroom. Major wins for the day!




All in all, the kids and Greg loved our time at COSI and have convinced me that I would too if I had just snapped out of it (and it hadn’t been raining and so busy). You can give it your own spin by visiting them in Columbus. Adult tickets start at $17.95 and kids are $12.95. There are lots of add-ons available, so be prepared to either say no or pull out your wallets and take on the full-blown experience. (Everything listed in this post was on the General Admission ticket.) More photos from our day can be found here.

My apologies as the Bitter Becky shines through – I was really unhappy with the way the weather didn’t cooperate, and this can definitely impact my opinions! We hope to head back to COSI when the kids are a ‘lil older and we can let them enjoy everything on a different level. I just didn’t have the patience to be the best mom I needed to be during this part of our trip. Boo!

This was my brain during our visit!


Experience Columbus: Franklin Park Conservatory

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

It was the calm after the storm, just what we needed.

Our visit to Franklin Park Conservatory was right at the end of our Experience Columbus trip. So right at the end that I had to assure the ticket counter attendant that YES we REALLY wanted in even though we only had 45 minutes to enjoy. I really needed a calm event before our drive home (after a rain storm, almost dropping the best ice cream I’ve ever had, and a mild mama breakdown). Ahem.

And enjoy those 45 minutes of calm, we did. For 43.5 minutes, we explored the Blooms and Butterflies 20th Anniversary Exhibit. Our ‘lil butterfly fit right in.



Greg spent most of that time trying to catch the brown butterfly that had gorgeous blue wings inside. It  was definitely worth his time, although I was using a smaller, tighter, slower lens and this was the best shot I got:


Because normally it looked like this:



Evan and I were busy looking at plants. While I love butterflies (and, fun fact, have a tattoo of one), one of my favorite memories as a kid was of when my mom would take our Campfire Kids / Buckeye Y troop to the botanical gardens in Fort Wayne. This girl is totally going to be that lady that once the kids are grown and the retirement check is coming in will be a gardener. We explored the beautiful plants like…




With just over 2 minutes to spare, we left the butterfly exhibit and while I started at gorgeous glass sculptures, Greg and the kids looked at the butterfly life cycle part of the exhibit. I really wanted to see more plants, so rushed into one more room before we had to call it a day (and a weekend, boo hoo!). But it was amazing to have taken that peaceful time because…




If I had to pick a “best moment” of the trip, it just might be the calm, quiet 45 minutes we got taking in nature’s beauty.

You can experience the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus on your own either by buying a ticket ($12 for adults, $6 for kids over 3) or including this as part of your Experience Columbus Roar and Explore Package like myself, The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog, Champagne to Crayons, Momma on a Mission, and Pgh Momtourage got to do last weekend.

More photos from our trip can be found here on our Flickr page. If you know my husband and want to pass him a “hey, Becky’d love this gift” idea – tell him to pretty please take me back for alone time with the gorgeous plants, ok? 

Experience Columbus: Drury Hotels

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).

By no means am was I a hotel snob. Nope, I can stay in pretty much any hotel and get comfortable (especially if it’s at 5:30 in the morning and I’ve driven through snow and ice to get there…hello, January vacation). But yinz guys. Why haven’t I stated at a Drury Hotels property before this past weekend? It’s definitely going to be my go-to when possible, and here are five reasons why.

1. Kickback. During our weekend in Columbus, we got to experience two of the fabulous Kickback events at Drury. This is a free (to hotel guests) buffet of hot and cold foods (think hot dogs, soup, salad, veggies, chips, pasta, and more) and three free adult beverages per night. Free. Per night. These totally went down very easily after a 3 hour road trip, lemme tell you. From 5:30 – 7:00 PM, you can indulge in this awesome event, one of the things that makes Drury’s already competitive price an even greater value.


kickback2. Quickstart Breakfast is served from 6 to 9:30 on weekdays and 7 to 10 on weekends. Of course, free food is a plus for us and the more the merrier. After my running adventures around Columbus, I’m not ashamed to admit I packed in several sausage patties and hot oatmeal. This is not your standard free hotel breakfast – it’s deluxe and included several options (eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, muffins, fruit, cereal, and more) plus the ‘Burghers’ all time favorite, Heinz ketchup to top it off. 😉

3. The beds and pools are for jumping in. Just reading this in the hotel info booklet made me smile (and made me do it, admittedly!). The beds were super soft and comfy – the kids and I had no trouble sleeping. (Greg is a different story when in an unfamiliar place, he was a security officer…) The pool was chilly, but it didn’t keep Arianna from jumping in and showing us her swimming skills. Evan, Greg, and I stuck to the edge and indulged in some hot tub time.


4. Customer Service is incredible. Not once did I see an employee looking miserable at the location we stayed at. The Manager was super friendly and engaged our kids in conversation. He was on-board with us sticking around for a 12:00 checkout so the group’s kids could all enjoy some more pool time, too. Everyone who managed the front desk and operator line did so with a smile. As a customer service leader, it’s hard to blow me away…but they did.

5. Free, Free, and more free! Included in your stay at Drury Hotels are free wi-fi (awesome perk when your hotel is inhabited by mom bloggers who are trying to Instagram the experience left and right) / free soft drinks and popcorn from 3-10 pm / free TV upgrades like HBO / free parking (at most locations except the one we stayed at because it’s connected to the Columbus Convention Center).

If you’re traveling this summer, consider a stay with Drury Hotels. While I’ve only gotten to experience the one on Nationwide Boulevard in Columbus, Ohio, I am pretty certain you’ll head home like I did…sad to say goodbye to your hotel! Check out their property list and start checking of stays on your travel bucket list. Or, check out the Roar and Explore Package through Experience Columbus and get all the fun in one package (starting at $411 for a family of 4).

Experience Columbus: The Thriver’s Viewpoint

Disclaimer: Experience Columbus sent my family and four other Pittsburgh Mom Blogger families on a weekend getaway to check out their city. We were compensated in the way of attraction passes and gift cards; however, this does not impact the views expressed in my recap posts (including this one). All opinions are my own (or my kids’ / husband’s).


You guys. To tell you that this weekend was good would be a huge understatement. Unfortunately, it’s been what I’ve been telling people as they’ve asked me about it…because I am super tired and not really ready to be back into the real world (you know, the one where I work 8-12 hours a day, am training for who knows what run, and have a kindergartener). This post will be the first of several on how awesome our weekend was, and telling as to why it needs to happen with my ‘lil family more often.

First of all, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been on a three-year wellness journey. I want to be a thriver so I don’t have to say I am a survivor. During this journey, I’ve become focused on raising a happy and healthy family and building a better me. Secondly, you probably get the idea that I love food, and have to work hard to make a balance. So when I travel, I have to find ways to make these worlds work together. That’s why I do like to give a healthy spin on our trips (because otherwise, I’ll spend my time sick and have to work for weeks afterwards to reel it back in).

Here are the things that I did on this getaway to ensure this balance, my Thriver’s Viewpoint if you will:


1.    Pre-pack Snacks. I will be telling you about the snacks and meals consumed in another post, but I knew to stay on my schedule, I’d need to be prepared. That’s why I grabbed up healthy snacks for me (granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and bananas) and quick snacks for the kids while we were on the go and in the car. This made getting ready to head out for the days spent exploring the city.

2.    Keep on my exercise schedule. This meant getting up about an hour before my family did (they were so cute snoozing, it was tough!) and lacing up my shoes for a run both days. I wasn’t hard on myself, though. My pace slowed to over 12-minute miles because I was exploring things, taking pictures, and dealing with traffic lights. During these runs, I got to see minor details of the city that I would not have seen while juggling the kids. When I returned to breakfast, it made the amount of sausage consumed feel a bit better. I highly recommend runners check out the Scioto Mile while visiting Columbus and run along the river to see the sights I did along the way (see my photos below).

Running the Scioto Mile

3.    Wearing my FitBit. Between my running schedule and our walking around, it was easy to meet my step goal. At the same time, it was really nice to see how far we walked. The Zoo actually has a “HOOFit” Program that helps visitors meet their 10,000 step goal. If my steps around the zoo put me at over 8 miles walked, imagine how that felt on the ‘lil Burghers’ legs! Seeing the steps go up helped Greg and I adjust what we were putting the kids through and let us monitor break times. (More on why our steps were way over what the program shows will be in my post about the zoo!)

This fire station might be worth some extra steps...
This fire station might be worth some extra steps…

4.    Sleep. It’s easy on vacation to not rest, but this Mama needed it. Were we on our normal schedule? No. Did naps happen? No. But did I sleep when I needed it? Yes. Sometimes you just have to give in to the opportunities around you and rest.

Need a nap? There are swinging park benches along Scioto Mile.
Need a nap? There are swinging park benches along Scioto Mile.

5.    Hydrate. Our hotel had a fridge, but we didn’t realize that before our trip (lack of my research!). I wish we had brought a case of water, because we ended up spending the same amount on one bottled water out on our adventures as we would have if we’d bought a case. Lesson learned. But, hydration was necessary. I almost passed out at the zoo, thanks to the LOVELY heat wave we had, but it was too late to hydrate with water and I had to find some lemonade stat. (You might know that heavy feeling you can get with water when you’re dehydrated.) And keep the ‘lil ones hydrated, even if it means more trips to the bathroom. Just hope they don’t pull an Evan and have to go after you’ve been standing in line for an attraction for 40 minutes. *wink*

You could hydrate your skin at the Scioto Fountain!
You could hydrate your skin at the Scioto Fountain!


6.    Have Fun. This trip, I let go of the stress and really let myself shine. This just might have included a 10-minute session of jumping on the bed and giggling with the kids. It was proof that I need more time to be me and have fun!

More to come on what we loved about our trip, but hopefully these tidbits will give you thoughts about how to stick with a Thirver’s lifestyle while vacationing. Thank you, Experience Columbus, for giving us this opportunity.

Ready to “Roar and Explore”!

Disclaimer: I am receiving products / services in exchange for this post about the Roar and Explore package from Experience Columbus as well as a prize package to giveaway to a reader. All opinions are 100% my own.

Who doesn’t love a getaway? How about one that is free and a quick three hour drive away, one that can be done on a weekend without taking a vacation day? This mom.

Experience Columbus

When I was contacted by Experience Columbus /the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) to work with them on promoting this summer’s Roar and Explore Family Adventure Getaway package, you know I couldn’t type my YES fast enough. There are so many things I love about Columbus, and I am very grateful that they asked the ‘lil Burghers family to be their guest this summer.

We haven’t traveled to Columbus (Ohio, in case you weren’t familiar) as a family, so this is going to be a special treat. In the past few years, Greg and I have had the pleasure to take some quick road / day trips out there to see our “Tattoo Guy” and one of my favorite grocery stores. Growing up, I lived not too far away, and my parents loved to take my brother and me to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.


This summer, we’ll be enjoying the Columbus Roar and Explore Getaway Package that is not just exclusive to us. (You might have heard their ad on the radio…I get all the feels of excitement when it comes on!) You can purchase this package for $411 and your family will enjoy:

  • 2 nights at participating Drury Hotels:  “Drury Inn & Suites is the preferred hotel of the Ultimate Columbus Family Getaway. The Drury has provided travelers like you with squeaky clean rooms, friendly service and a good value for over 30 years.” Free hot breakfast and a 5:30 PM “Kickback” with hot/cold beverages is included.
  • 4 tickets to the Columbus Zoo:  “Come explore the #1 Zoo in America – home to Jungle Jack Hanna. Stretching over 130 acres, the Zoo has more than 570 species and over 10,000 animals, including giraffes, big cats, elephants, gorillas, manatees, bonobos and more!” The zoo is opening up a “Heart of Africa” exhibit this summer and they’ve added to Dinosaur Island (Evan is beyond excited). Find out more at
  • 4 tickets to Zoombezi Bay Waterpark:  “Zoombezi Bay is the only water park inside a zoo!” Arianna, Greg, and I will be taking turns on the big kid slides while Evan chills in “Baboon Lagoon”, a new play area. has more details!
  • 4 tickets to COSI: “COSI encourages you and your family to learn more about your world and have a blast. With exciting live shows, over 300 hands-on exhibits, Central Ohio’s largest digital giant screen theater and the country’s only high wire unicycle, there’s always something new to discover at COSI.” This summer, the Sherlock Holmes exhibit will challenge your inner detective. Go find out more at

Sounds like a blast, and a lot to pack into one weekend, right? But trust me, you deserve a weekend away, and Columbus is a great city to experience. If you’re not convinced, I’ll be blogging, tweeting, and instagramming the whole #ExpCols weekend along with fellow Pittsburgh Moms Pittsburgh Mommy BlogPgh MomtourageChampagne to Crayons, and Momma on a Mission while we are Columbus’ guests June 6 – 8.

Ok. So you are thinking this package sounds like a fit for your family? Here’s how you can get it. If you aren’t feeling lucky, go buy a package today. (Click here to buy.) Or, you can stick around this blog and enter to win the package that Experience Columbus and the CVB offered me for yinz! You have until June 5 at 9 PM to enter, then I’ll mail the package out to the winner. All I ask is that we 1) play nice, 2) have fun, 3) don’t make me pull the car over, and 4) are 18+ / US Only / promise me you’ll Experience Columbus.

Good luck!

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